Digital Initiative Offers Low-Income Families Tablets, WiFi

Jan 28, 2016

The city of Atlanta gave out free tablet devices to low-income families Wednesday evening. The tablets are part of a White House-led effort to improve digital access for families who can’t afford the Internet. 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was on hand to give out tablets to some 75 southeast Atlanta families with school-aged children.

“If our kids don’t have internet access, they’re running a race barefooted,” said Reed, speaking about the initiative. 

He and other city officials told parents the devices are a first step in reaching out to the 25 percent of households nationwide without internet access.

“Think about the difference internet can play in a student – doing homework, taking practice exams or even applying for college," said Samir Saini, the Chief Information Officer of the city of Atlanta. 

The city is set to give tablets, along with a year of free internet access, to another 500 families this summer.

One of the recipients, Jessica Campbell said, at home, the only internet access she can afford is on her phone, which her six-year-old son tends to monopolize.

“He’s real computer savvy so he likes being on the computer all the time. He has several different learning programs he utilizes,” Campbell said.

In Atlanta, officials say the ConnectHome program includes plans to provide discounted Google fiber service for low-income families by the end of next year. That will depend on whether or not the fiber infrastructure is in place.